Let’s face it, Grays Ferry Avenue is no great shakes. Once it goes south of Washington Avenue, it’s pretty much a mix of industrial buildings and vacant land, with the exception of the Grays Ferry Shopping Center. This shopping center, incidentally, is a bit of a retail destination in this part of town, containing a supermarket, a post office, and soon enough, a brand new liquor store. Center City it ain’t, but people gotta eat, they gotta mail stuff, and heaven knows, they gotta drink.

We’ve been banging the gong for Washington Avenue for over a decade, appreciating its sizable lots and its proximity to Center City as a springboard to mixed-use redevelopment. Grays Ferry Avenue provides some of the same benefits as Washington Avenue with its huge lot sizes. And sure, it’s not nearly as walkable to Center City, but it’s closer to West Philly and has incredibly easy access to I-76 (aside from that horrible left turn onto 38th Street). Though Washington Avenue has started seeing turnover and new mixed-use construction, it hasn’t been so much the case on Grays Ferry. Sadly, an upcoming project at 3114 Grays Ferry Ave. will take the corridor in a less favorable direction, assuming it gets approved.

Screen Shot 2021-11-23 At 3.45.36 PM
Current view of the building
Screen Shot 2021-11-23 At 3.46.05 PM
View across the street
Screen Shot 2021-11-23 At 3.46.08 PM
Looking west from the property

Next month, the developers are coming to Civic Design Review to present a plan to build a storage facility at this location. The storage facility will rise five stories and will be operated by SecureSpace Self Storage, which already has a couple other locations around the city. The project will also include a small surface parking lot on the southern end of the property. Check out the renderings from the CDR Pack, with credit to TAO Architecture and Design.

Screen Shot 2021-11-23 At 2.11.50 PM
Aerial massing
Screen Shot 2021-11-23 At 2.10.31 PM
Project rendering
Screen Shot 2021-11-23 At 2.10.52 PM
Slightly different angle
Screen Shot 2021-11-23 At 2.10.59 PM
Parking area in the south

We’d call this a major step in the wrong direction for Grays Ferry Avenue. Like we said, the corridor has a great deal of potential for mixed-use, and a big ol’ storage facility plopped down for the next few decades isn’t exactly conducive to promote that kind of redevelopment. Not that developers are currently banging down the door to build apartments over here, but once opportunities start drying up on Washington Avenue in the coming years, Grays Ferry is going to look more and more attractive, and this building will be a giant millstone on the corridor.

You may recall, we told you earlier this year that another storage facility was planned at 3145 Grays Ferry Ave., and didn’t have much of a problem with it. Though that project is very close to this one, it sits on the other side of I-76, and there’s a railroad viaduct on the other side of the property, so that parcel wasn’t exactly desirable for a different type of project. We don’t think that a storage facility at 3145 Grays Ferry Ave. will have much, if any, impact on future projects on the corridor, and we wish we could say we feel the same about the plan down the street.